New cross-party group of Flintshire Councillors set up to tackle ‘old boys’ club’ in politics
A new cross-party group has been set up to provide support for female politicians in Flintshire amid claims the ‘old boys’ club’ is alive and kicking.
A total of seven councillors on Flintshire Council have joined together to form their own non-political group, which will share advice and assistance.
There are hopes it will encourage more women to enter the world of politics and create a greater balance of members on the authority.
Cllr Helen Brown, who represents the Aston ward, said it was vital that different perspectives were represented.
It comes as there are currently 18 female councillors out of a total of 70 elected at county level.
The independent councillor said: “We just thought it was important to form a non-political women’s group.
“It’s seen as a man’s game and no matter how many women you can get into politics tomorrow it would still be an old man’s world.
“Say for instance with council tax and the budget, they’re challenging topics.
“We all represent constituents and you can get bogged down with the legal aspect.
“Sometimes you just need to step back, and it’s not a sexist comment, but as women and mothers dealing with budgeting it is a reality check and you think ‘What would that do to me?”
According to figures published last year by the Electoral Reform Society, 28 per cent of councillors in Wales are women compared to around 26 per cent in Flintshire.
Two of Wales’ 22 local authorities had no female members in their cabinets, while Flintshire’s Labour administration currently has two out of eight.
The new group consists of councillors from across several different independent groups, as well as from the Conservatives.
Cllr Brown, who is one of the founding members, was first elected in 2004 after choosing to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
She formerly served as cabinet member for housing and chairs the council’s audit committee.
Cllr Brown is now encouraging more people to join the group, including those aspiring to become politicians.
She said: “My mum was a councillor and I said I’d never do it.
“Then I got to the age of 30 and I just thought that it was alright having a say in the background, but I wanted to put myself forward.
“Sometimes when you’re dealing with things on your own it is hard.
“I just think that we’ll get so much strength off each other and more support.
“It’s not exclusive to county councillors, it’s also open to town and community councillors.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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